Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Guantanamo Detainees Wax Poetic, Get Published

Poems From Guantanamo - the Detainees Speak. You can buy this little volume of sob stories told in doggerel from (at $11.16), or wait a month and look for it on the deep discount rack at Borders. The editor, Marc Falkoff, happens to also be the lawyer for all 17 of the sensitive souls who contributed their poetry.

Robery Pinsky, the ex-Poet Laureate of the U.S., wrote a blurb for the book jacket and praised the project on NPR. He hedged as to its literary merit, nevertheless, he thinks it's terribly important for all of us to pay attention to these weepy jihadis since "these voices in confinement implicitly call us to our principles and to our humanity. They deserve, above all, not admiration or belief or sympathy—but attention. Attention to them is urgent for us." I don't know about you, but these voices call me to pay attention mainly to the problem of how to keep them in Gitmo for the rest of their natural lives.

One of the voices belongs to Moazzam Begg, who was released from Gitmo in time to join the book tour. [Released? Some prison camp that is!] Here's one of his poetic efforts:

Freedom is spent, time is up -
Tears have rent my sorrow's cup;
Home is cage, and cage is steel,
Thus manifest reality's unreal.

Judge its literary merit for yourself. Does it call you to anything, urgently or otherwise? Here's my reply to Mr. Begg:

You were caught, your game was up -
Now you cry in your tin cup
You were caged for a few years,
Good! - now let me dry my tears.

Sunday, August 26, 2007

U.S. Drops Blasphemous Soccer Balls on Afghani Children; Muslim Offense Level Raised

When I see a news item like the one below ("Blasphemous Soccer Balls Anger Afghans") I miss the Saudi expatriate who used to publish that great blog "The Religious Policeman." TRP (may he soon return!) used to publish this handy color-coded Muslim Offense Level so that we infidels could know exactly how offended the Muslim world was on any given day. [The MOL is explained here:]

Since TRP has stopped blogging, I will step up to the plate and gauge the MOL myself. Based on the paltry size, non-violent nature, and localized impact of today's demonstration in Khost, Afghanistan, I assess that the MOL is currently ELEVATED. Should the soccer ball riots continue, turn lethal, or spread into neighboring Pakistan, I will raise the MOL to HIGH.

'Blasphemous' U.S. Soccer Balls Anger Afghans

U.S. Official Claims Misunderstanding, Saying, 'We Do Not Want to Offend'

KABUL, Afghanistan, Aug. 26, 2007 —

A demonstration has been held in south-east Afghanistan accusing U.S. troops of insulting Islam after they distributed soccer balls bearing the name of Allah.

The balls showed the Saudi Arabian flag, which features the Koranic declaration of faith.
The U.S. military said the idea had been to give something for Afghan children to enjoy and they did not realise it would cause offense.

The soccer balls were dropped from a helicopter in Khost province. Some displayed flags from countries all over the world, including Saudi Arabia, which features the shahada, one of the five pillars of Islam -- the declaration of faith.

The words, which include the name of Allah, are revered, and Muslims are very sensitive about where and how they can be used.

Saudi Arabia has complained to the World Cup's ruling body in the past about the use of its flag on soccer balls.

Mullahs in Afghanistan criticised the U.S. forces for their insensitivity, and around 100 people held a demonstration in Khost.

Afghan MP Mirwais Yasini said: "To have a verse of the Koran on something you kick with your foot would be an insult in any Muslim country around the world."
A spokeswoman for the U.S. forces in Afghanistan said they made "significant efforts to work with local leaders, mullahs and elders to respect their culture," and distributing the footballs was an effort to give a gift the Afghan children would enjoy.

"Unfortunately," she added, "there was something on those footballs we didn't immediately understand to be offensive and we regret that, as we do not want to offend."

Copyright © 2007 ABC News Internet Ventures

This Week in the History of Terrorism, August 26 - September 1

Here's my summary of significant past events for this week.

August 27

1979 (Ireland) – Lord Louis Mountbatten was assassinated by the Provisional IRA (PIRA). The attack was carried out by planting a bomb in his boat while Mountbatten was holidaying at his summer home in Mullaghmore, County Sligo, in the Republic of Ireland. Also killed were two guests and a 15-year old local boy working as a crew member. Mountbatten’s boat, the 30-foot Shadow V, had just set off from Mullaghmore when the bomb was detonated by remote control.

The attack called into question the security arrangements surrounding the Mountbatten party. Lord Mountbatten never had a bodyguard, only a local police watch on his residence for the one month a year he spent there. His boat was left unguarded in the public dock in Mullaghmore.

A PIRA member, Thomas McMahon, who had been arrested for driving a stolen car near Mullaghmore two hours before the bombing, was convicted of the four murders on the basis of evidence that he had traces of explosive, sand, and paint from the boat on his clothes. He was released from prison in 1998 under the terms of the Good Friday Agreement between the UK and the PIRA.

August 28

1979 (Belgium) – A PIRA bomb exploded in the Great Market in Brussels, just missing a British Army band that was performing there. This attack, like the assassination of Mountbatten and the Warrenpoint ambush, was one of many on British interests outside the UK that was conducted by the PIRA in the late 1970s.

August 29

1997 (Algeria) – One of bloodiest atrocities of the Algerian conflict took place at the village of Rais, south of Algiers, when the villagers were massacred by the Islamic Salvation Front (FIS), evidently in retaliation for the villagers refusal to continue supplying the FIS with food and money. News media accounts that quoted hospital workers and witnesses gave death tolls of 200 to 800. The official figure given by the Algerian government to the UN was 238. Algeria was then at the peak of a brutal civil conflict that had begun after the military's cancellation of the 1992 elections that would have brought an Islamic government to power.

2003 (Iraq) – The leader of the Iraqi Shia Moslem community, the Ayatollah Sayed Mohammed Baqir al-Hakim, was assassinated when a massive carbomb exploded as he left the Imam Ali Mosque in Najaf. The blast killed at least 84, and possibly over 200. Al-Hakim was the son of the Grand Ayatollah who was the worldwide leader of Shia Muslims from 1955 to 1970, and he had long opposed the Hussein regime from exile.

It was unclear who was behind the attack. Suspicion focused on Hussein regime or Ba’ath Party remnants, on Sunni Moslems opposed to the increasing Shia influence in Iraq, and even on rival Shia groups either as part of an internal power struggle or as a hard-line reaction to Al-Hakim’s friendliness towards the United States. On August 30, Iraqi authorities arrested four people in connection with the bombing: two former members of the Ba’ath Party, and two non-Iraqi Arabs from the Salafi (Sunni) sect. However, some U.S. and Iraqi officials believe that Al-Qaeda was responsible, stating that bomb maker Abu Omar al-Kurdi, who was captured in January 2005, confessed to carrying out the bombing.

August 30

1982 (Lebanon)
– The leader of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO), Yasser Aarfat, evacuated Beirut with the remnants of his organization after using the city as his headquarters for more than a decade. Arafat was forced out after three months of sustained Israeli attacks that were originally intended merely to destroy PLO bases near Israel's northern border, but escalated into a campaign that completely defeated the PLO in Lebanon. The attacks began as retaliation for a PLO assassination attempt on the Israeli ambassador in London. Arafat declared Beirut the "second Stalingrad" during the siege; much of the city was ruined by artillery and aerial bombardment, and roughly 17,000 civilians killed.

August 31

1994 (Ireland)
– The Provisional Irish Republican Army (PIRA) declared a ceasefire in its armed struggle with the United Kingdom. The statement said there would be a "complete cessation of military operations" as of midnight, and that the organization was willing to enter into inclusive talks on the political future of Northern Ireland.

September 1

1970 (Jordan)
– King Hussein of Jordan was the target of an assassination attempt by Palestinian militants, who attacked his motorcade. It was one of several attempts that day to kill the King, all arising from the conflict between the Kingdom and the Palestinian Liberation Organization, which was demanding virtual autonomy for its enclaves inside Jordan. This conflict led the King to declare martial law on September 16 and expel the PLO in a military campaign that continued until July 1971.

2004 (Russia) – Chechen terrorists seized School Number One in the town of Beslan in the North Ossetia region of the Russian Republic, holding more than 1200 children and adults for almost three days. After 56 hours, shooting broke out between the hostage-takers and Russian security forces. According to the final Russian official reports, 344 persons were killed, 186 of them children, and hundreds more were wounded. Chechen leader Shamil Basayev took responsibility for the attack, which was reportedly led by his principal deputy, Magomet Yevloyev.

The attack was staged on September 1st for maximum impact, because that is the start of the school year in Russia and children are accompanied by parents and other relatives who attend ceremonies hosted by their school. There were even more children in attendance than usual that day, since the town's kindergarten had been closed due to a gas supply problem and many mothers brought their youngest children to School No. 1.

(Below, photo and sketch) The gymnasium where the 1200 hostages spent 56 hours measured 10 meters wide by 25 meters long. Explosives were hung inside the basketball nets and around the floor.

Monday, August 20, 2007

Governor of Iraq's al-Muthana Province Assasinated

Al-Muthana province was transferred to local Iraqi control by the British Army last year. Yesterday, the governor was assassinated in the latest example of the Shia-on-Shia factional dispute that is raging in southern Iraq. The conflict in Iraq is now primarily between Shia factions; al Qaeda initiated only about 15% of the attacks in the first six months of 2007 according to al Jazeera, whose story is linked below.

The all-Shia nature of the conflict seems to be almost entirely ignored by the U.S. news media, maybe because the British are in charge in the region where it is most apparent, or maybe because the Bush administration and the U.S. media are obsessed with al Qaeda. Nevertheless, we ought to pay closer attention to what goes on in the southern region, since it probably foreshadows what will happen across the entire country when U.S. forces eventually leave.


Iraq governor dies in bomb attack; Al-Hassani's assassination is the second of a provincial leader in just over a week

An Iraqi governor has died in a roadside bomb attack, the second assassination of a provincial leader in nine days. Mohammed Ali al-Hassani, governor of al-Muthana province, died when the blast hit his convoy in the provincial capital Samawa at about 8am (0400GMT) on Monday, said Zaman Hadi, head of security at the city's general hospital. At least one other person died in the blast, with two more seriously injured, according to police reports.

On August 11, the governor and police chief of Qadasiya, a province in southern Iraq, died in a roadside bomb attack. Both governors were members of the Supreme Islamic Iraqi Council (SIIC), a group led by Abdul-Aziz al-Hakim, a Shia Muslim politician. Supporters of the council have fought the Mahdi army, created by Muqtada al-Sadr, a Shia leader, for control of Iraq's oil-rich south.

Shia and Sunni groups have been fought sectarian battles in Iraq since the US-led invasion of March 2003. However, recent months have seen intra-Shia violence between the Badr Organisation, the SIIC's armed wing, and the Mahdi army. "This is part of a settling of scores prior to the elections next year," said a senior Shia official who declined to be named. "I don't think there will be a Shia bloodbath because a decision has been taken to act with restraint. But more assassinations of some figures are expected," he said.

Riyadh Majeedh, Samawa's acting mayor, said Iraqi security forces had been deployed in the city and that an indefinite curfew had been imposed.

Factional discord

Hoda Abdel Hamid, Al Jazeera's Iraq analyst, said the successive attacks against provincial governors signified a marked rise in Shia-on-Shia violence. "The significance [of this particular attack] is in the succession of attacks against governors. I think it is showing that there is intra-Shia fighting that is getting bigger and bolder every day. We have seen on the ground already the Badr brigade, which is really the police force in southern Iraq, fighting with the Mahdi army."

Fighting broke out between various Shia factions in Samawa, which is about 370km southeast of the capital Baghdad, in July. Abdel Hamid said the intra-Shia violence was in contrast to Washington's tradtional assessment that al-Qaeda is the biggest cause of destabilsation in Iraq. "There is a lot of factional fighting that is nothing to do with al-Qaeda. The national intelligence estimate in the US has actually pinpointed al-Qaeda as the fifth threat to Iraq's stability rather than the first threat," she said. "What is really destabilising Iraq now is factional fighting... al-Qaeda is behind about 15 per cent of the attacks over the first six months of the year."

Al-Muthana was the first province that was transferred to Iraqi control by the British army last year.

Government warning

Amid the growing discord between Shias in Iraq, al-Sadr said al-Maliki's government was close to collapse despite efforts to bolster it. "Al-Maliki's government will not survive because he has proven that he will not work with important elements of the Iraqi people," al-Sadr said in an interview published by London's Independent newspaper on Monday. "The prime minister is a tool for the Americans, and people see that clearly," he said in the interview, which was conducted in the southern Iraqi city of Kufa. "It will probably be the Americans who decide to change him when they realise he has failed. We don't have a democracy here, we have a foreign occupation."

Al-Sadr, who formerly expressed support for al-Maliki, withdrew his five supporters from the Iraqi cabinet to protest the prime minister's refusal to demand a timetable for the pullout of US forces from Iraq.

This Week in the History of Terrorism, August 19 - 25

Here's my summary of significant past events during this week:

August 19

2003 (Iraq)
– The United Nations headquarters building in Baghdad was destroyed by a large truck bomb, killing the UN’s chief envoy, Sergio Vieira de Mello, and 22 others. The building was unusually busy and filled with staffers at the time (4:40 PM) because a news conference had just begun. Al Qaeda claimed responsibility. The United Nations has just increased security measures around the building in the wake of several earlier attacks, including the bombing of the Jordanian embassy 12 days before. Following the bombing, the UN withdrew all but 50 foreign staffers from Iraq. No UN staff returned to Iraq until February, 2004.

Many UN officials were astonished at an attack on what they saw as a humanitarian agency that is separate from politics and diplomacy. The Al Qaeda leader in Iraq, the late Abu Al Zarqawi, explained his motive in an audio tape: "We destroyed the U.N. building, the protectors of Jews, the friends of the oppressors and aggressors. The U.N. has recognized the Americans as the masters of Iraq. Before that, they gave Palestine as a gift to the Jews so they can rape the land and humiliate our people. Do not forget Bosnia, Kashmir, Afghanistan, and Chechnya."

2003 (Israel) – Twenty-three people were killed and over 130 wounded when a Palestinian suicide bomber detonated his bomb on a crowded bus in Jerusalem's Shmuel Hanavi neighborhood. Many of the passengers were returning from prayers at the Western Wall during the week before Rosh Hashanah. HAMAS claimed responsibility for the attack.

As a result of this attack, among others, the Israeli cabinet decided on September 1, 2003, to wage an all-out war against HAMAS and to freeze diplomatic processes with the Palestinian Authority.

2001 (Russia) – A bomb attack in a market in Astrakhan killed seven persons and wounded more than 50. Chechen extremists are suspected.

August 20

1978 (United Kingdom) – Two persons were killed and nine others wounded during an attack in central London a bus transporting Israeli national airline crews from the airport to the Europa Hotel in Mayfair. When the bus pulled up at the hotel and the El Al staff got out, two men standing nearby drew sub-machine guns and hand grenades from shoulder bags and opened fire. One attacker died at the scene, apparently killed by one of his own grenades, and the other attacker was captured by police. The Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) claimed responsibility for the attack, and Israel subsequently launched retaliatory air strikes on Palestinian targets.

Police escorts for El Al crews were increased after the attack, however, Israeli authorities protested at the continued refusal of the UK to permit El Al security guards to carry firearms and insisted that Britain must share some blame for the incident. Government spokesman Meir Amit said: "The British police are generally known for their efficiency but recently they have been standing helplessly by."

1998 (Afghanistan and Sudan) – U.S. cruise missiles struck Al-Qaeda targets in Afghanistan, and a presumed target in Sudan, in retaliation for the U.S. Embassy bombings in Nairobi and Dar Es Salaam on August 7th. The Sudanese target was the Al-Shifa pharmaceutical plant, which was initially suspected of producing chemical weapons. However, the U.S. State Department Bureau of Intelligence and Research wrote a report in 1999 questioning the attack, and U.S. officials later acknowledged that there was no proof the plant had been manufacturing or storing chemical weapons, or had been linked to Osama bin Laden, who was a resident of Khartoum in the 1980s. The attack on the Al-Shifa plant was executed with three ship-launched cruise missiles, and was precise enough to level the plant’s four buildings with only minimal damage to surrounding areas, killing only one person and wounding ten.

August 21

1999 (Pakistan)
– Two Mohajir Qaumi Movement (MQM) members were sentenced to death for the murder of four U.S. citizens.

1995 (Israel) – A HAMAS suicide bomber killed five and wounded 100 on a Jerusalem bus. Later that day Israel retaliated by killing the HAMAS leader Ismail Abu Shanab, firing helicopter missiles at his car in Gaza City. Ismail Abu Shanab (1955 – 1995) was the #3 official of HAMAS. He was educated as a construction engineer at Colorado State University, where he received a Masters degree. Over 100,000 people attended his funeral.

August 22

1922 (Ireland)
– Michael Collins, the Irish revolutionary leader who served as Minister for Finance in the Irish Republic, as Director of Intelligence for the IRA, as a delegate during the Anglo-Irish Treaty negotiations that ended the Irish uprising against Great Britain, and as the first Commander-in-Chief of the Irish National Army, was assassinated by anti-treaty IRA dissidents. Collins was traveling to his native County Cork in order met with several anti-treaty leaders when his convoy was ambushed. The attack lasted 45 minutes and Collins was the only fatality, possibly hit by a ricocheting bullet. Collins had ordered his convoy to stop and return fire, instead of choosing the safer option of driving on in the safety of his armored car.

1962 (France) – President Charles De Gaulle was targeted for assassination by the Secret Army Organization (OAS), a group of ex-Algerian settlers and dissident military officers. The OAS ambushed De Gaulle’s convoy as it passed through the Paris suburb of Petit-Clarmart, hitting his unarmored sedan with fourteen rounds of small arms fire, but missing him and failing to disable the car. After the attack, police counted a further twenty rounds that struck a nearby café, and 187 rounds that struck the pavement.

The chief conspirator to be arrested for the attack was a French Air Force Major, Jean-Marie Bastien-Thiry, who strongly opposed the secession of Algiers from France, which De Gaulle had supported. At his trial, Bastien-Thiry claimed that killing de Gaulle would have been justified by the "genocide" of the European population of newly-independent Algeria, and compared himself with von Stauffenberg (who had failed to kill Hitler in 1944). He was sentenced to death, and executed by firing squad on March 11, 1963.

1991 (Peru) – The USIS Bi-National Center in Lima was attacked with a small bomb, causing no injuries.

August 23

2001 (Colombia)
– The ELN placed a carbomb outside a police station in Mantilla killing one and wounding 25.

August 24

1990 (Lebanon)
– Irish hostage Brian Keenan was released in Beirut by his Islamic kidnappers after more than four years in captivity. Keenan was an English teacher at the American University of Beirut when he was abducted in April 1986, by Hezbollah. His release was credited to negotiation by Iran on behalf of Ireland with the kidnappers. Keenan later wrote two books about his experiences as a hostage.

1975 (France) – Ismail Erez, the Turkish Ambassador to France, and his driver/body guard Turkish police officer Talip Yener, were assassinated while crossing the Bir Hakeim Bridge on the Seine River in Paris. The Justice Commandos for the Armenian Genocide (JCAG) claimed responsibility of the attack. The attack was carried out by two men using automatic weapons at a traffic choke point near the Turkish Embassy. The attackers were never identified or arrested.

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Reason to Be Skeptical About the Near Future of Iraq

A story in today's Washington Times highlights the power struggle going on in the southern Iraqi oil center of Basra, where British forces have essentially ceased interfering with the natural course of local politics. The Supreme Iraqi Islamic Council (SIIC), the biggest Shite party in Iraq and the one that controls most governorships in the south, is taking power from the previous incumbent governor, who is the local leader of the somewhat-reasonable Fadhila Party. At least, Fadhila is reasonable in comparison with the other off-shoot of the Sadrist movement, the Tayyera Sadriyyin, which is now busily implementing a program "modeled on that of Hezbollah in Lebanon."

Hezbollah in Lebanon??? Now there's a model for a post-occupation Iraq.

Take a look at one of my recommended books - Prince of the Marshes, Rory Stewart's excellent memoir of his time as a Coalition governorate advisor in southern Iraq - for some insight into this volatile region.

Parties battle in Basra
By David Enders
August 16, 2007

BASRA, Iraq — Governance has ground to a halt in this southern oil capital, with Basra's two largest parties arguing over the legitimacy of the provincial governor while militias and gangs take over the streets.

The bitter power struggle, gaining strength as British forces reduce their numbers and withdraw into their bases, has left grave doubts about what had been one of the most promising regions in post-invasion Iraq.

-snip -

Basra, meanwhile, had grown increasingly dangerous, with Westerners no longer daring to move about without heavy security.

The governor blamed the deteriorating security on Sheik al-Sadr's party and its affiliated militia, the Mahdi Army. But a spokesman for Tayyera Sadriyyin insisted that the party — which has taken over local services and policing in a program modeled on that of Hezbollah in Lebanon — simply seeks to "focus on the people."

Basra's troubles reverberate across Iraq's nine southern governorates, one of which is controlled by the Sadriyyin. Most of the other governorships are held by SIIC, whose leaders have sought to downplay tensions.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Odd Access Control Procedure

TSB spent today visiting another U.S. government agency at its headquarters building downtown in the Holy City of Washington. I expected to undergo the usual X-ray and metal detector screening to get into the place - meaning that I hid my pocketknife inside the litter of other small items in my laptop bag so I could sneak it in - but what I didn't expect was that my U.S. government ID card wasn't enough to get me admitted. Instead, I had to show my Virginia driver's licence as proof of identity.

So here's another bit of security theatre for me to be skeptical about: a government-issued badge (that shows I am a direct-hire employee with a Top Secret clearance and 24/7 unescorted access to State Department facilities) is disregarded, but I'm allowed in on the strength of a driver's licence (that doesn't even prove I'm a citizen). What's the reasoning behind that?

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

HAMAS Peek-a-Boo

An old picture (from June), but worth posting. HAMAS started making good use of the U.S.-funded security screening equipment as soon as they took control of Gaza from the lawful Palestinian Authority. Here's a playful troop manning the X-ray machine at the Rafah border crossing. I have no idea what he's doing in there, but I just hope it doesn't catch on with TSA.

Monday, August 13, 2007

This Week in the History of Terrorism (August 12-18)

Here's my summary of significant past events for this week:

August 13

1995 (India)
– A Kashmiri separatist group killed a kidnapped Norwegian, Hans Christian Ostroe. He was part of a group of mountain climbers kidnapped in the Himalayas in July, 1995, by Kashmiri Islamic militants bargaining for the release of 21 members of their group, Al-Faran, who were jailed in India. Ostroe was found beheaded in a Kashmiri forest one month after India refused to release the group memebrs. The incident was the first time a Norwegian had been taken hostage and killed in a foreign country since World War II.

August 14

1994 (Sudan)
– French authorities captured Ilich Ramirez Sanchez, the Venezuelan terrorist known as “Carlos the Jackal,” and returned him to France to be tried for the murder of two police agents and an informant in 1979. Ramirez had been living in Khartoum under the protection of the authorities, but his increasingly erratic behavior led them to collaborate in his informal extradition back to France. He was then taken directly before Judge Jean-Louis Bruguiere, who served Carlos with an arrest warrant for the 1979 murders.

1993 (Venezuela) – The U.S. Embassy in Caracas was shot at with small arms fire. No one was injured. A few hours earlier, shots had been fired at the construction site of the new embassy office building in Caracas.

August 15

1998 (Northern Ireland)
– A car bomb in the market town of Omagh, County Tyrone, killed 29 persons and wounded more than 100 in the worst act of violence since the start of the Northern Ireland conflict three decades earlier. Police received a telephone warning approximately 40 minutes before the blast, but the location of the bomb was unclear and the wrong area was evacuated, with people being directed towards the danger zone. The Real IRA, a splinter group attempting to derail the Good Friday peace accords, was responsible.

2001 (India) – Kashmiri militants wound eighteen in Handwara with a roadside bomb. Lashkar-i-Tayyib claimed responsibility.

August 16

1993 (Germany)
– Police stormed a KLM aircraft that had been hijacked by Egyptian Islamic Jihad. The flight from Tunis to Amsterdam was hijacked by a single terrorist who demanded the release of Sheikh Omar Abdel Rahman, who was being held in New York in connection with the first World Trade Center bombing. The German Federal Police counter-terrorism unit, GSG-9, subdued the lone hijacker after the hostages escaped through a cockpit window.

August 17

1995 (France)
– A small bomb exploded near the Arc de Triomphe in Paris, wounding 17 persons. No group claimed responsibility, but the incident came amid a series of similar bombings committed by Algerian Islamic extremists. The Algerian Armed Islamic Group (GIA), a group opposed to France's support for the military Government of Algeria, was believed to be responsible.

The explosion occurred shortly after 5 PM, when the area around the monument was crowded with tourists (11 of the 17 wounded were foreigners). The bomb was an improvised device placed inside a trash can near the Place de l'Etoile, and it had been packed with fragmentation to cause massive casualties. Due to the rapid response of emergency units, none of the victims died.

August 18

2001 (Spain)
– A car bomb exploded in a tourist area near Barcelona. There were no casualties, since a warning call was sent. The Basque ETA was responsible.

1987 (Sri Lanka) – A grenade attack against the Parliament killed one legislator.